Arkansas Massage Requirements

Arkansas massage requirements establish the educational and examination requirements for individuals to become a massage therapist in the state.  In Arkansas individuals who practice massage therapy are considered Licensed Massage Therapists and must have a H.S. Diploma, be 18 years of age or older, graduate from a board registered & licensed massage school and pass a board recognized and approved examination. 

In order to operate a massage therapy school Arkansas requirements include application for massage therapy school certificate & licensure.   To operate a massage therapy clinic and or Spa the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy must be notified in writing and the clinic will be inspected a minimum of once annually.  In order to instruct massage therapy students at a certified and licensed massage therapy school a state licensed therapist requires additional training and must apply for approval.  In addition to Licensed Massage Therapist the state of Arkansas Massage Therapy Law also offers the upgraded designation as Master Massage Therapist.  Arkansas first massage law was enacted in 1951.  The following information is offered as assistance to those considering a career as a massage therapist.  The information should be verified by consulting the Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy. 

Arkansas Massage Requirements

Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy
101 East Capitol Ave, Ste 460
P.O. Box 2019
Little Rock, AR 72203

Phone Number: (501) 683-1448 
Fax: (501) 683-1426

To see Arkansas State Laws & Rules go to:

Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy

Find Arkansas Massage Schools


Application & Initial License $180.00

Biennial Renewal $80.00

Education requirements:

500 hours from a board accepted massage therapy school


The Massage and Bodywork Licensure Examination: MBLEx

CEU Requirements: 18 Hours Biennially

Page last Updated June 16, 2015

National Certification will no longer be offered as of December 31, 2016.  Those who are Nationally Certified will need to upgrade their Certification to Board Certified. Please go to for further information on Board Certification. 

Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy
Chapter Definitions Reference Resource for Arkansas Massage Requirements 

Arkansas massage Requirements Definitions Excerpt

Article One

Principles, Methods and Definitions

1. Terms found in Arkansas Code §17-86-102 are descriptive rather than limiting, and massage therapy includes those techniques which are utilized in all phases of massage and bodywork for the purposes of relaxation, stress reduction, pain relief, injury prevention, injury repair, postural improvement and/or health enhancement.

"Massage therapy" means to engage in the practice of any of the following procedures:

(A) All massage therapy techniques and procedures, either hands-on or with mechanical devices;

(B) Therapeutic application and use of oils, herbal or chemical preparations, lubricants, nonprescription creams, lotions, scrubs, powders, and other spa services;

(C) Therapeutic application of hot or cold packs;

(D) Hydrotherapy techniques;

(E) Heliotherapy;

(F) Electrotherapy;

(G) Any hands-on bodywork techniques and procedures rising to the level of the techniques and procedures intended to be regulated under this chapter and not covered under specific licensing laws of other boards.

2. Hydrotherapy is defined as the use of water in any form for therapeutic purposes and includes methods of full and partial immersion baths, whirlpools, sponging, sprays, body shampoos, body scrubs, body wraps, fomentations, compresses, poultices, packs, masks, steam treatments, and sauna treatments.

3. Heliotherapy is defined as the use of light for therapeutic purposes and may consist of the use of infrared radiation lamps and devices and the various uses of other light that might be approved by the Board.

4. Electrotherapy is defined as the use of electrical devices for therapeutic purposes and may consist of the use of mechanical vibrators, electric stimulation, direct and alternating currents, interferential currents, micro currents, and Russian stimulation. Therapists must demonstrate training in the use of electrical devices other than simple mechanical vibrators and present qualifications acceptable to the Board before using such devices.

ASBMT Adopted Rules & Regulations Revised 09/13/10 4

5. Practices involving the use of ultrasound are outside the scope of massage therapy unless the therapist can present educational qualifications acceptable to the Board and a licensed physician prescribes the treatment.

6. Depilation, waxing, extractions, and electrolysis are not within the scope of massage therapy.

7. Colonic irrigation and other methods of internal hydrotherapy are not within the scope of massage therapy.

8. Direct supervision is defined as "being in the physical presence of a licensed master massage therapist or massage therapy instructor."

9. Assist is defined as "acting as an aide to a master massage therapist or massage therapy instructor."

10. Continuing Education is defined as education that is acquired after individual has graduated and become licensed as a massage therapist.

11. Guest Instructor is defined as a qualified speaker or presenter who does not teach more than sixteen (16) clock hours in a school curriculum.

Resources and References

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